Request for Pilot and Exploratory Study Proposals

Request for Pilot and Exploratory Study Proposals from the University of Florida

Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center focused on Mobility and Prevention of Disability

******Full Application due September 15, 2017******

The University of Florida Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC), director Marco Pahor, MD, is seeking innovative, interdisciplinary Pilot and Exploratory Study (PES) applications which address the above-mentioned focus. Successful applications should collect pilot data that will lead to extramural research grants and/or career development awards. For more information see below and attached RFA.

Also visit to learn more about the UF OAIC.

Who should apply? What types of projects are funded?  What are the evaluation criteria?

Basic science and clinical research studies are encouraged, may originate from investigators at any College within the University of Florida or the VA Medical Center, and can include collaborations with other institutions, particularly those with OAIC’s. PESs may be categorized as standard PESs or small PESs based on their budgets (described below). These studies may be led by junior faculty and/or research associates receiving OAIC Research Education Core (REC) support, or by other senior or junior investigators. Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of:

  1. Significance, methodological approach, scientific merit and innovation
  2. Relevance to the RFA theme: “mobility and prevention of disability.”
  3. Potential to result in subsequent larger NIH funded projects. A paragraph is required to describe the aims of the subsequent project and to outline how the PES will provide data that are needed for the major grant.
  4. Multidisciplinary Investigative Team
  5. Environment and use of Pepper Center Cores and Clinical Research Facilities
  6. Budget and timeline appropriateness
  7. Junior Investigator Involvement and level of mentoring offered to Junior Investigators

 What are the budgetary allowances?

Basic science projects are allowed up to $25,000 per year and clinical research projects which involve enrollment of human subjects are allowed up to $50,000 per year in direct costs. Each project should be for no more than 2 years and it is the expectation that all funds will be expended within each award year: no carryover of funds and no indirect costs are allowed. Priority will be given to applications that are completed within a shorter timeline. Therefore budget and timeline appropriateness is a key basis for evaluation of the application. Smaller PESs are allowed < $10,000 per year for one year. Awards levels are contingent upon the type of project proposed, availability of funds and approval by the OAIC External Advisory Board and the National Institute on Aging.


  1. Only direct costs that support the advancement of the Statement of Work are allowed.
  2. Funds awarded may not be used for indirect costs.
  3. Awardees must comply with the broad policies governing Cost Accounting Standards.


  1. Domestic travel is permitted for project-related scientific meetings to discuss or present research. All travel expenses to be reimbursed under this contract shall be in accordance with Florida Statutes Section 112.061. Foreign travel is not allowed.
  2. Scientific equipment is allowed if specifically budgeted for and awarded. Each PI department will retain title to approved equipment purchased on their portion of the awarded budget.
  3. General purpose office equipment is not allowed.
  4. Food is not allowed, except for research purposes for research study participants.
  5. Principal Investigator and key personnel salaries are not permitted, but supporting scientist and staff salaries are allowed.

Will support from other entities enhance the potential for funding?

Leveraging funding from this award by combining resources from other entities is encouraged but not required. For example, the UF Institute on Aging is not only invested in the UF OAIC but also in the McKnight Brain Institute, the Age-Related Memory Loss Program and the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease. The mission of these entities is to conduct cutting-edge interdisciplinary preclinical neuroscience and translational research on age-associated cognitive, behavioral and emotional functioning; factors that contribute to impairments and functional decline, and future avenues for intervention. The co-occurrence of both physical and cognitive decline during the aging process makes these programs a primary example of such a partner center for funding studies which address research in both of these domains.

 When will applicants receive notification of award?

Notification of award and distribution of funds is expected in April 2018. The distribution of awards is contingent upon approval of the project from the local Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) as appropriate. Applicants must ensure and/or include in their timeline the IRB/IACUC submission process. Facilitation of the IRB process is encouraged by speaking directly with Dr. Iafrate regarding a specific application. For IACUC approval, prior consultation with an ACS veterinarian is strongly encouraged.

 What is the application process?

Full applications must be prepared on the COMPLETE 11/15 revision of the PHS 398 application package ( Include a letter of support of the leader of the OAIC Core(s) involved in the proposed study. No appendix materials are allowed. If human subjects are involved, develop a data safety monitoring plan as appropriate. The Specific Aims and Research Strategy should not exceed 6 pages. Please note that the 6 total pages INCLUDES THE SPECIFIC AIMS PAGE. The application packet must be:

Typed: using Arial 11 font with half inch margins all around, single spaced, and with adherence to the page limitations specified. Do not delete section headings. Searchable: It should be created using text or word-processing software and then converted to PDF. Scanned documents cannot be processed using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and are therefore not searchable. No larger than 4MB. Consider compressing images and/or eliminating color images before converting to a .pdf to minimize file size. Submitted in a single .pdf and named using your last name, e.g., “JohnsonOAIC_Pilot”. Failure to adhere to these formatting requirements will affect your review scoring.

 Full applications must be submitted electronically no later than September 15, 2017 to Dr. Christy Carter ( as a single pdf file (maximum 4 MB) comprising of the sections listed in Table 1 below. Detailed guidelines and important deadlines will be sent to all accepted applicants. Strict adherence to format specifications will be required as this is an NIH submission.